Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Much Slower Pace

by Angela Sillonis
We read reports of wildfires and floods back home. We check, not really interested, what sort of weather our families and friends are living with. When we wake up in the morning, our loved ones are just going to bed. They are dealing with day-to-day life struggles, like jobs and kids, while the biggest decisions we make every day is whether to have our coffee served cappuccino, macchiato or Americano, and which of the many flavors of gelato sounds best at this moment.

Despite our slower pace of life, we are doing work, hopefully learning a new language, and if all goes as planned, producing work we can all be proud of. In this short time, we have become friends. We’ve supported each other through frightening incidents, illness, and non-working bank cards, (thanks, Leona!). We are each other’s surrogate families, and we are building relationships that will last a lifetime. In this way, we are assimilating into the culture in which we find ourselves.

Tuesday evening was the first time I saw groups of young people on the piazzaCagli. At the pizza place where I had dinner, it appeared to be ladies’ night. There were two groups of women (aged approximately late 20s, early 30s) who came for drinks and dinner. One group of three (the slightly older group) ate, talked, and enjoyed each others’ company. The group of four (younger) women did not seem to be having fun at all. They each ordered one drink, and when two of them left the room to smoke, the two remaining didn’t speak to each other - one of them made a phone call – and appeared to be pretty grumpy. When the smokers returned, it didn’t take long before they paid their bills and left, but it was still nice to see young people out and about, since the typical crowd we see is much older.

The culture in which we find ourselves is one that values family, friendships and history. They live life at a much slower pace than we’re used to, but we have found that pace to be very appealing. When I return to my Boston suburb, the first change I plan to lobby for is that the whole of New England implement pausa (the food trucks can stay open in the afternoons under my rule, however). Afternoon naps are good for productivity, and they certainly improve my mood.